“Then why is it called a zebra if it has spots? Why not leopard shark?”
“Reasons such as…?”
Well, first of all, the leopard shark is a different shark altogether. Not to be confused with the leopard catshark.
“Still doesn’t explain anything else. What other reasons?”
Reasons like THIS is how the zebra shark looked like when it was a juvenile:
Mine! Now see where the name came from?
“I guess. But what a radical change!”
So radical that scientists used to think the juveniles were a completely different species altogether.
But, in fact, when they’re a little bit more grown up they look like so:
And just as teenagers, they hunt for food at night. But instead of going straight to the fridge, they patrol the sea floor for mollusks, crustaceans, fish and sometimes sea snakes. The teeth of the zebra shark are designed for crushing their prey, which doesn’t sound too nice for the fish and sea snakes. Whoops.
Like many sharks they are solitary creatures, but form large aggregations seasonally. This shark is oviparous, laying large eggs and anchoring them with adhesive tendrils. These are commonly called “mermaid purses.”
The IUCN has assessed this species as Vulnerable (V) due to it being sought out by commercial fisheries in its range (excluding AU) for the meat, fins and oil. There is also evidence that they are dwindling.
That's all these lovable creatures have revealed to us thus far. But they're very cute to watch, even if we don't know everything about them.
Until next time—and thanks again!